Mashed Green Bananas (Matooke)

Matooke is an essential staple food in Uganda. Africa’s staple foods are as diverse as the unique cultures and traditions in the African continent. While ingredients are relatively similar, the diversity of African cuisine lies in the style and technique of preparation. Due to their wide availability, most of these foods have become the backbone of mealtimes for most African families. Here are some popular ones:

Matooke – The staple food of Uganda is also consumed in other parts of Africa. Made of starchy banana, also referred to as cooking banana, the green fruit is peeled with a knife, steam-cooked then mashed into a delicious meal or cut into small pieces and deep-fried. It is usually served with meat or beans.

Mkatra Foutra – This bread is very popular in the islands off the African coast, like Mauretus and the Seychelles. It is basically a yeast-leavened bread made with flour, coconut milk, eggs, salt, butter, and sesame. It goes well with chicken or prawn rogaine served throughout the islands.

Injera – This fermented, slightly spongy flatbread is made with ancient Teff flour and is commonly eaten with stews and other dishes in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea.

Ugali – Also known as pap, Ugali is a common dish in many parts of Africa, especially in East and South Africa. It’s usually made of maize flour (cornmeal), although in some parts of Africa it can be made of millet or sorghum flour. You simply boil water, add maize flour, and stir to a dough-like consistency.

Garri – Very common in West Africa, garri is made of pounded, fermented cassava roots. It is very rich in carbohydrates. Garri is cooked by soaking it in hot water and kneading it into dough. It can be served with a variety of foods such as beef stew, beans, and vegetable stew.

Fufu – Very popular across West Africa, fufu is a special meal made up of a mixture of different flavours, including cassava, cornmeal, plantains, yam, and/or semolina. Some people boil the starchy foods whole and then mash them into a dumpling-like consistency, while others use flours made from one or more of these ingredients. Swallowed instead of chewed, fufu is served with mostly groundnut or palm-nut soup.

Couscous – Couscous is a popular North African dish consisting of small steamed balls of semolina. It is traditionally made by sprinkling dried durum wheat with water and rolling it into small pellets. The small pellets are then cooked in a steamer, which is placed on top of a cooking pot with meat and vegetable stew to allow the couscous to absorb flavors from the stew as it cooks.

Matooke – Mashed Green Plantains

Ugandans will wax poetically when recalling grandma's Matooke with beans, meat, fish, or chicken. This traditional staple is a comfort food worthy of serving with most any meal in place of rice or potatoes. Making the dish is easy, finding the small green plantains, not so much.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: African, East Africa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Large skillet with cover
  • Potato masher.

Ingredients

  • 10 Small green plantains, unripe
  • 1 large Lemon, juiced
  • 1 medium Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 14 oz Can diced tomato, drained
  • 1 large Red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium Scotch Bonnet, habanero, or other hot pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp Dende-palm oil (vegetable or olive oil)
  • 1 cup Beef broth

Instructions

  • Prep – Peel plantains by cutting off both ends and making a slit down the middle. Separate skin from meat by peeling your way down the slit. These are tougher to peel than a normal banana. Cut into chunks, put in a bowl, and squeeze lemon on top. Set aside.
    Cook – Fry vegetables in 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add whole plantains, cover, and cook about 20 minutes, until they become very soft.
    Remove from heat and using a potato masher, mash plantains and then mix thoroughly. Serve while hot.

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